Looking for Advice on Congregational Participation

Jan 31, 2019
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19
3
Bradford County, PA
Hi, I am not a very social person even though I like just about everyone. Those few that I don’t like I can still love, meaning I can do good things for them (verb agapao, rather than noun agape). Best I can tell, I am this way due to both nurture and nature, much of it deliberately self-inflicted like an animal that chews a leg off to get out of a trap. So being part of the Body of Christ can be a confusing, frustrating situation for all involved. I have had a number of conversations about this with other believers and it has never been a good experience. Maybe it is best not to bring it up at all. But even if I don’t bring it up, how can I respond in a Christ-like way when someone challenges me about my congregational participation?

See, when I am “encouraged” to be more involved in congregational activities (membership, attendance, small groups) because that is what the Body of Christ is and that is how He works, it smells more like “If you were really saved you would <blank>” I am sure many have smelled that aroma from those that want you to, well, be more like them whether it be a particular doctrine, financial contributions, door-to-door evangelism, etc. The <blank> is something those people happened to be passionate about and gifted at, so you should too! (Following that track can show how Cults get started and grow…)

But congregational participation is viewed very differently. Perhaps it is inevitable when you consider how a Local Church Congregation functions. If they weren’t tightly knit, would they exist for long? I doubt it. So where does that leave those, like me, that aren’t very social? Should we consider ourselves, as some others certainly do, reprobates, beyond God’s salvation because we choose to be? This would be true if having a social personality is a choice. And might it be so? What if the only reason someone did not have a social personality was due to some kind of sinful pride? They might THINK there is nothing, but God’s healing touch, that can change them and yet be deluding themselves. And what greater proof than to intentionally isolate yourself from the Body of Christ!?!?!

For me that is a bone chilling thought. But where else would I be presented with that terrorizing thought but from those promoting congregational participation as evidence of being part of the Body of Christ? Ironically, that has the opposite of the intended effect: It DIScourages me to be where this thought abounds – in a congregational environment! HaHaHa

But when I walk out of the Church doors and see the natural things God has created, and re-live the moment of my personal, private revelation of Salvation, that terrorizing thought disperses like the exhaust from an old rusty truck going down the road. And yet, I see enormous good that comes from the congregational participation of others. It is a blessing from God, but is it either a requirement for, or an indication of, God’s Salvation? I don’t think so, although I accept that others do. In fact I can and do much to support the congregational participation of others because it is such a wonderful thing. As I mentioned, it can be a really confusing, frustrating situation for all involved. And that is what I am asking you fine folks for help with.

How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
 
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AtomicSnowflake

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Hi TwoBlocked
I probably won't be able to answer your question(s) in the way you're seeking.... but I can offer you my thoughts about it.
The way I see it, there are many ways to "participate" other than "being social"... I realize that sounds bad to say it that way, but let me explain what I mean.
We can support the church functions/activities in various ways... Just as we each are blessed with varying gifts. For example..
Let's say our church is having a Fall festival event.... they want to have a bondfire, roast hot dogs, grill some burgers, games for the children, a hay ride, etc...
Just because I may have zero interest or motivation to attend the event, does not mean that I cannot "participate". Maybe I have a small farm, and so I have the ability to supply the church with some of the needed items... such as a few bales of hay, or a stack of fire wood, or maybe donate some hot dogs, or maybe Brother Joe's trailer needs some welding repair done so he can use it for the hay ride, so I offer to weld it/repair it for him.
There are many, many, ways we can each "participate" on different levels, in different ways in order to work together in unity, as one body, to achieve the result. We don't all have to be social butterflies.
Our focus should be to hear, obey, & please God... not men. If it is God that is convicting us to participate or do more, then it is our responsibility to obey Him... out of love, honor, and genuine desire that He puts in our hearts..
As far as what other people think... we ALL have our faults, weaknesses, strengths and gifts... none of us are perfect.
I thank you for asking this question. It is actually personally helpful to me. It help each of us to better see and understand both sides of things... I am looking forward to reading the replies from our brothers & sisters here.
Again, welcome to CFS
and God Bless
 

AtomicSnowflake

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As I re-read my reply above, I realize it seems unfairly one-sided... while there are may ways to "participate"... the Bible does tell us how important "fellowship" is.
There are many scriptures to reference on that topic. And fellowship is different from participation. It seems like that is probably more in line with what you are asking. ?
(Just do a simple search for: scripture, fellowship... and there is much to read, study, & learn!! )
Sometimes, we do need to step outside of our comfort zone, for our own good & growth... Pray about what God wants from you. He will let you know.
 
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Hi, I am not a very social person even though I like just about everyone. Those few that I don’t like I can still love, meaning I can do good things for them (verb agapao, rather than noun agape). Best I can tell, I am this way due to both nurture and nature, much of it deliberately self-inflicted like an animal that chews a leg off to get out of a trap. So being part of the Body of Christ can be a confusing, frustrating situation for all involved. I have had a number of conversations about this with other believers and it has never been a good experience. Maybe it is best not to bring it up at all. But even if I don’t bring it up, how can I respond in a Christ-like way when someone challenges me about my congregational participation?

See, when I am “encouraged” to be more involved in congregational activities (membership, attendance, small groups) because that is what the Body of Christ is and that is how He works, it smells more like “If you were really saved you would <blank>” I am sure many have smelled that aroma from those that want you to, well, be more like them whether it be a particular doctrine, financial contributions, door-to-door evangelism, etc. The <blank> is something those people happened to be passionate about and gifted at, so you should too! (Following that track can show how Cults get started and grow…)

But congregational participation is viewed very differently. Perhaps it is inevitable when you consider how a Local Church Congregation functions. If they weren’t tightly knit, would they exist for long? I doubt it. So where does that leave those, like me, that aren’t very social? Should we consider ourselves, as some others certainly do, reprobates, beyond God’s salvation because we choose to be? This would be true if having a social personality is a choice. And might it be so? What if the only reason someone did not have a social personality was due to some kind of sinful pride? They might THINK there is nothing, but God’s healing touch, that can change them and yet be deluding themselves. And what greater proof than to intentionally isolate yourself from the Body of Christ!?!?!

For me that is a bone chilling thought. But where else would I be presented with that terrorizing thought but from those promoting congregational participation as evidence of being part of the Body of Christ? Ironically, that has the opposite of the intended effect: It DIScourages me to be where this thought abounds – in a congregational environment! HaHaHa

But when I walk out of the Church doors and see the natural things God has created, and re-live the moment of my personal, private revelation of Salvation, that terrorizing thought disperses like the exhaust from an old rusty truck going down the road. And yet, I see enormous good that comes from the congregational participation of others. It is a blessing from God, but is it either a requirement for, or an indication of, God’s Salvation? I don’t think so, although I accept that others do. In fact I can and do much to support the congregational participation of others because it is such a wonderful thing. As I mentioned, it can be a really confusing, frustrating situation for all involved. And that is what I am asking you fine folks for help with.

How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
Proverbs 11:14
"
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."

Social is simply a state of mind. Not everyone is talkative and vocal, but the truth is that you do not have to be.

Most people who attend a specific church will feel a need to be involved with the activities of that church's congregational activities.
We all want to fit in and be accepted by the congregation. I would not advise trying to do a lot too soon but gradually volunteer to do things that would be helpful for you and them.

When there is a dinner at the church, make it a point to do things like take the trash out to the garbage area or even wash dishes in the kitchen or clean off the tables. You could even ask the Pastor if you could paint a bad spot on the building or pull weeds that are out of control.
You could ask if you could clean the parking lot or trim bushes. ALL of that goes along way toward fellowship and acceptance and when others observe your attitude you will have more social activity that you can handle my friend.

Those things will go a long way towards "Fitting" in with the people of the church and before long you will be accepted as a great Christian church member.

The beauty of a Church relationship is that all the members carry each other. You may be weak in social skills but strong in using a vacuum cleaner and the opposite is just as true for someone else. So then when all pull together for the cause of Christ, more work can be done than if we try to do it by ourselves.

But most of all, My advice would be to be yourself!
 
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
Thanks, folks. I think we are talking past each other. Seems to happen to me a lot.

Let me try to clarify. A more general category my question falls under would be how to respond in a Christ-like manner to a doctrine you disagree with. The specific doctrine being congregational participation/fellowship being either a requirement or an indication of Salvation. And the specific reason being that some have been blessed with little capacity to socialize/fellowship.

It would be nice to think that you fine folks could help me be more social, which I sincerely desire to be, but like Paul's "thorn in the flesh" God has chosen to leave things like they are. OK, I accept that. Never mind getting over it, time to just get on with it. Forget healing, go for coping. And that is what my question is about. Finding a coping tool.

For instance, occasionally I attend Church where I was once went more frequently. A guy I respect and admire and truly like mentioned that he hadn't seen me lately. I had a pretty good idea where the conversation was likely to go because I had been down that road many times never with a good outcome. It results in confusion for them and despair for me. So instead of trying to explain my social challenges (which regular church goers simply cannot understand) I looked furtively from side to side and said jokingly. "I owe a lot of people money, so I try not to get around much. Think I could borrow 5 grand?" He was amused as I knew he would be and he also understood that I didn't want to talk about it. But I didn't feel good about my answer either. He had genuine concern about me and I blew him off. I didn't know how best to respond.

So: How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation/fellowship being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
 
Sep 3, 2009
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Thanks, folks. I think we are talking past each other. Seems to happen to me a lot.

Let me try to clarify. A more general category my question falls under would be how to respond in a Christ-like manner to a doctrine you disagree with. The specific doctrine being congregational participation/fellowship being either a requirement or an indication of Salvation. And the specific reason being that some have been blessed with little capacity to socialize/fellowship.

It would be nice to think that you fine folks could help me be more social, which I sincerely desire to be, but like Paul's "thorn in the flesh" God has chosen to leave things like they are. OK, I accept that. Never mind getting over it, time to just get on with it. Forget healing, go for coping. And that is what my question is about. Finding a coping tool.

For instance, occasionally I attend Church where I was once went more frequently. A guy I respect and admire and truly like mentioned that he hadn't seen me lately. I had a pretty good idea where the conversation was likely to go because I had been down that road many times never with a good outcome. It results in confusion for them and despair for me. So instead of trying to explain my social challenges (which regular church goers simply cannot understand) I looked furtively from side to side and said jokingly. "I owe a lot of people money, so I try not to get around much. Think I could borrow 5 grand?" He was amused as I knew he would be and he also understood that I didn't want to talk about it. But I didn't feel good about my answer either. He had genuine concern about me and I blew him off. I didn't know how best to respond.

So: How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation/fellowship being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
Usually when someone says that they have "Not seen you in awhile", they are actually trying to be nice to you. They are saying that instead of saying...…
"You have not been to church in a while have you"???? "We miss you when you are not here"!!!!!!!!
Everyone I know only say those things out of their Christian love for all people and in most cases it then becomes a matter of prayer for them, FOR YOU.

Again...….to have and make friends SOCIALLY, one must be friendly my dear brother.
I say this with all due respect for you as I am not a medical doctor but just from your words it seems to me that "guilt" from not attending regularly may be involved.

Then allow me to say to you that congregational participation as you call it is NOT a requirement of salvation in any way.

Should you want to be involved in church??? YES!! But do you have to, to prove you are saved...NO!
 
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Jan 31, 2019
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Major, you are correct that I do feel some guilt in not attending Church more regularly. Going more often or being more social or more active will not help, though. That is because the guilt is a result of a certain kind of pride. I feel that I should be more social and therefore have unrealistic expectations of myself rather than accepting myself exactly as I am, as God also accepts me. These unrealistic expectations get revived when confronted by those that feel that being social, being involved in congregational participation/fellowship is a sign or expectation of Christ-like living. It's pretty uncomfortable.

And I might have misread what the guy meant and might have been leading up to when he mentioned he hadn't seen me in Church for a while, but I doubt it. I know the guy, heard the inflection, and actually respect and admire him for it. It was really an example to illustrate how I respond.

I am fond of irony. Hope you don't mind, Major. I was thinking this would be easier if you did think congregational fellowship was necessary and a sign of being saved. Then someone might be able to use it as an example to answer what I am asking. :)

How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation/fellowship being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
 
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
Major, you are correct that I do feel some guilt in not attending Church more regularly. Going more often or acting more social or more engaged will not help, though. That is because the guilt is a result of a certain kind of pride. I feel that I should be more social and therefore have unrealistic expectations of myself rather than accepting myself exactly as I am, as God also accepts me. These unrealistic expectations get revived when confronted by those that feel that being social, being involved in congregational participation/fellowship is a sign or expectation of Christ-like living. It's pretty uncomfortable.

And I might have misread what the guy meant and might have been leading up to when he mentioned he hadn't seen me in Church for a while, but I doubt it. I know the guy, heard the inflection, and actually respect and admire him for it. It was really an example to illustrate how I respond.

I am fond of irony. Hope you don't mind, Major. I was thinking this would be easier if you did think congregational fellowship was necessary and a sign of being saved. Then someone might be able to use it as an example to answer what I am asking. :)

How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation/fellowship being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
 
Sep 3, 2009
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Sugestion………….when posting, use the "REPLY" option in the lower right hand corner. That we we all know who is getting spoken to and who is the focus.
It is very difficult to give you correct advice my brother as it seems to me, just on the surface that your problem may be more deeper in a personal kind of anxiety than a spiritual concern of being in a congregation.

It might very well benefit you to talk with a Christian counselor.

I had for several years, in fact she is still a church member who simply got so anxious and nervous that she could not travel on an Interstate highway.
That inability severely hampered her family when they wanted to go on a vacation. She did what I just suggested to you and that Doctor prescribed a very simple medication which changed her life. Her and her family now go to the Smokey Mountains 3 or 4 times a year where before she could not stay in their car to go ONE mile much less 10000.
 
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
Sugestion………….when posting, use the "REPLY" option in the lower right hand corner. That we we all know who is getting spoken to and who is the focus.


It is very difficult to give you correct advice my brother as it seems to me, just on the surface that your problem may be more deeper in a personal kind of anxiety than a spiritual concern of being in a congregation.

It might very well benefit you to talk with a Christian counselor.

I had for several years, in fact she is still a church member who simply got so anxious and nervous that she could not travel on an Interstate highway.
That inability severely hampered her family when they wanted to go on a vacation. She did what I just suggested to you and that Doctor prescribed a very simple medication which changed her life. Her and her family now go to the Smokey Mountains 3 or 4 times a year where before she could not stay in their car to go ONE mile much less 10000.
Makes me think of that movie "Children of a Lesser God." The setting was a school for deaf teenagers. A new instructor came in and did amazing things with them so that they could act much like they would if they could hear, including talking. A female janitor worked there that had been a star student, went out into the world, but came back. She refused to speak although she could and also disdained all of the amazing things the teens were taught to do. Of course the teacher and the janitor fell in love and of course he was frustrated that she wouldn't speak. Finally she did. It sounded horrible, she knew it did, and she knew it wasn't anything like how hearing people talk. She was also offended that deaf people could not be accepted as they were, but instead were coerced into trying to conform to a hearing society, which they didn't really fit into no matter how well they could perform.

I can be active socially but the results tend to be horrible for reasons I cannot understand, so I don't. It is not that I am anxious about me. Rather I am anxious about how I affect others in unforeseeable ways. This includes even discussing the subject and so I may wish I hadn't gone as far as I have in this post. From past experience I would guess it might be offensive. If so, I apologize.

Perhaps what I am asking should not be asked.
 

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Makes me think of that movie "Children of a Lesser God." The setting was a school for deaf teenagers. A new instructor came in and did amazing things with them so that they could act much like they would if they could hear, including talking. A female janitor worked there that had been a star student, went out into the world, but came back. She refused to speak although she could and also disdained all of the amazing things the teens were taught to do. Of course the teacher and the janitor fell in love and of course he was frustrated that she wouldn't speak. Finally she did. It sounded horrible, she knew it did, and she knew it wasn't anything like how hearing people talk. She was also offended that deaf people could not be accepted as they were, but instead were coerced into trying to conform to a hearing society, which they didn't really fit into no matter how well they could perform.

I can be active socially but the results tend to be horrible for reasons I cannot understand, so I don't. It is not that I am anxious about me. Rather I am anxious about how I affect others in unforeseeable ways. This includes even discussing the subject and so I may wish I hadn't gone as far as I have in this post. From past experience I would guess it might be offensive. If so, I apologize.

Perhaps what I am asking should not be asked.
As I have said, I personally think that you need some "deeper" help which you are not going to find on a computer web site.

So far you are only sharing with us your problem but there is no way those problems can be fixed over the internet.

From what I have gathered from you leads me to believe that your problem has deeper roots which will require some effort to fix.

But that is just my opinion.
 
Feb 10, 2015
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Major, you are correct that I do feel some guilt in not attending Church more regularly. Going more often or being more social or more active will not help, though. That is because the guilt is a result of a certain kind of pride. I feel that I should be more social and therefore have unrealistic expectations of myself rather than accepting myself exactly as I am, as God also accepts me. These unrealistic expectations get revived when confronted by those that feel that being social, being involved in congregational participation/fellowship is a sign or expectation of Christ-like living. It's pretty uncomfortable.

And I might have misread what the guy meant and might have been leading up to when he mentioned he hadn't seen me in Church for a while, but I doubt it. I know the guy, heard the inflection, and actually respect and admire him for it. It was really an example to illustrate how I respond.

I am fond of irony. Hope you don't mind, Major. I was thinking this would be easier if you did think congregational fellowship was necessary and a sign of being saved. Then someone might be able to use it as an example to answer what I am asking. :)

How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation/fellowship being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?
I don't know is this would help, but let me share a little about me (and my wife).

I enjoy going to church. I always learn something new, or at least something to consider from a different angle than I had before. Sometimes it is as part of the sermon, sometimes in Sunday school, some times it is some other more informal occurrence. I guess I have taught myself to do more than sit and take it in, but to immerse my being into the experience.

This does not mean I am always in lock step agreement, but I do try to consider things in the manner they were presented.

My wife, on the other-hand, feels much as you. She is uncomfortable in public. She is saved and has a very strong faith, but she feels intimidated at church.

We met in church and she has attended church with me, but feeling uncomfortable most times. But at other times, she helped me to attend, while she stayed home, often listening to the same service on the radio, so we could discuss it together.

We have recently moved to a another home (actually, back to where she grew up). I have decided that worshiping separately is not the best for either of us, so we are looking together for a congregation. I am letting her take her time but I really want this to be a together time.

The bottom line is that her not going to church does not mean that she is not saved. It does mean that part of her mental make-up is an impediment. Dragging her (figuratively) there would not help. This is something that we have to work through together.
 
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
As I have said, I personally think that you need some "deeper" help which you are not going to find on a computer web site.

So far you are only sharing with us your problem but there is no way those problems can be fixed over the internet.

From what I have gathered from you leads me to believe that your problem has deeper roots which will require some effort to fix.

But that is just my opinion.
Where have I asked for help fixing my "problem"?

I am withdrawing my question. In a way I find it heartening that no one seems to know how to respond to it. Perhaps none of you fine folk can even imagine my situation. Would a man with artificial legs wish someone else would be in the same condition, or know someone that is? The purpose being so they could get advice on how to respond to someone that thinks they are not being very spiritual because they don't dance between the pews like the rest of them? It's the best analogy I can think of. Of course there is always miraculous healing, but it would be misguided to recommend such a person to a podiatrist. That is extending the analogy to Christian counseling.

Just in case someone is intriged and not totally confused by this, let me try to fill out the picture further, but please, no more advice about my "problem". I once read about a man that was visiting holy sites in Europe where the failthful would travel to be healed. There was usually a pile of crutches of those that had been blessed because they no longer needed them. But he noticed there were no artificial limbs... In my experience those fortunate enough to only experience minor emotional challenges think that ALL such difficulties can be healed, usually spiritualy. Like someone saying their right hand was premanenty maimed beyond use and is extrememly painful and excuses themselves from shaking hands with it. Is an acceptable response "Oh, I had a paper cut once, they are the worst! It will heal in time. Are you praying? Do you have Faith?"

And sure, Christian counseling is a blessed thing, but it has never been recommended to me by someone personally. The Pastor is very aware of my situation and acknowledges that he doesn't really understand what I term a "seam in my soul." Likewise, a Christian counselor I know well. But they both accept me just as I am, to the best of their abilities and encourage me in the Church Ministry I am invovled in. They see that my situation allows me to help others in a unique way.

OK, it is a subject I don't really want to continue. It tends to make me feel even more alone, but perhaps it will be helpful to someone sometime.

I have thought of a response to use though: "I fellowship with Christians outside of Church."
 
Last edited:
Jan 31, 2019
25
19
3
Bradford County, PA
I don't know is this would help, but let me share a little about me (and my wife).

I enjoy going to church. I always learn something new, or at least something to consider from a different angle than I had before. Sometimes it is as part of the sermon, sometimes in Sunday school, some times it is some other more informal occurrence. I guess I have taught myself to do more than sit and take it in, but to immerse my being into the experience.

This does not mean I am always in lock step agreement, but I do try to consider things in the manner they were presented.

My wife, on the other-hand, feels much as you. She is uncomfortable in public. She is saved and has a very strong faith, but she feels intimidated at church.

We met in church and she has attended church with me, but feeling uncomfortable most times. But at other times, she helped me to attend, while she stayed home, often listening to the same service on the radio, so we could discuss it together.

We have recently moved to a another home (actually, back to where she grew up). I have decided that worshiping separately is not the best for either of us, so we are looking together for a congregation. I am letting her take her time but I really want this to be a together time.

The bottom line is that her not going to church does not mean that she is not saved. It does mean that part of her mental make-up is an impediment. Dragging her (figuratively) there would not help. This is something that we have to work through together.
Thanks, Siloam. To be clear, my situation is different. I can be in public or not. It's more of a neutral thing. I tend to be alone because I get little from being with others, and there is potential of me harming them. (I think of this Forum...) The difficulty is when someone wants me to be more intimately involved in a group and infers that there is something "wrong" if I am not.

Quick question, if I may. Is going to Church a positive thing in her life?
 
Feb 10, 2015
779
945
93
Maryland
Quick question, if I may. Is going to Church a positive thing in her life?
It depends. If she can slip in and feel unnoticed, she if fine. Most churches make a point of greeting everyone and making feel welcome.

In my wife's case, this is a problem that occurs in different manner in her siblings. She is from a large family (fourteen children) and her father died when she was about 10. Whatever the reason several of them have had related problems. Her dizygotic (fraternal, not identical) twin has been diagnosed with agoraphobia.

But knowing the problem allows her to not let it define her life. It is something she works on (and we deal with it together).
 
Sep 3, 2009
11,889
4,563
113
Florida
Where have I asked for help fixing my "problem"?

I am withdrawing my question. In a way I find it heartening that no one seems to know how to respond to it. Perhaps none of you fine folk can even imagine my situation. Would a man with artificial legs wish someone else would be in the same condition, or know someone that is? The purpose being so they could get advice on how to respond to someone that thinks they are not being very spiritual because they don't dance between the pews like the rest of them? It's the best analogy I can think of. Of course there is always miraculous healing, but it would be misguided to recommend such a person to a podiatrist. That is extending the analogy to Christian counseling.

Just in case someone is intriged and not totally confused by this, let me try to fill out the picture further, but please, no more advice about my "problem". I once read about a man that was visiting holy sites in Europe where the failthful would travel to be healed. There was usually a pile of crutches of those that had been blessed because they no longer needed them. But he noticed there were no artificial limbs... In my experience those fortunate enough to only experience minor emotional challenges think that ALL such difficulties can be healed, usually spiritualy. Like someone saying their right hand was premanenty maimed beyond use and is extrememly painful and excuses themselves from shaking hands with it. Is an acceptable response "Oh, I had a paper cut once, they are the worst! It will heal in time. Are you praying? Do you have Faith?"

And sure, Christian counseling is a blessed thing, but it has never been recommended to me by someone personally. The Pastor is very aware of my situation and acknowledges that he doesn't really understand what I term a "seam in my soul." Likewise, a Christian counselor I know well. But they both accept me just as I am, to the best of their abilities and encourage me in the Church Ministry I am invovled in. They see that my situation allows me to help others in a unique way.

OK, it is a subject I don't really want to continue. It tends to make me feel even more alone, but perhaps it will be helpful to someone sometime.

I have thought of a response to use though: "I fellowship with Christians outside of Church."
Post #1 you asked this...………...
"How do I respond in a Christ-like way when someone brings up the subject of congregational participation being an expectation, or even a requirement, of Christ-like living?"

Forgive me if I have intruded upon your concerns. I was only trying to answer your question.

Blessing to you and maybe we can communicate on another thread...…….good bye mate!
 
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Apr 11, 2014
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Where have I asked for help fixing my "problem"?

I am withdrawing my question. In a way I find it heartening that no one seems to know how to respond to it. Perhaps none of you fine folk can even imagine my situation. Would a man with artificial legs wish someone else would be in the same condition, or know someone that is? The purpose being so they could get advice on how to respond to someone that thinks they are not being very spiritual because they don't dance between the pews like the rest of them? It's the best analogy I can think of. Of course there is always miraculous healing, but it would be misguided to recommend such a person to a podiatrist. That is extending the analogy to Christian counseling.

Just in case someone is intriged and not totally confused by this, let me try to fill out the picture further, but please, no more advice about my "problem". I once read about a man that was visiting holy sites in Europe where the failthful would travel to be healed. There was usually a pile of crutches of those that had been blessed because they no longer needed them. But he noticed there were no artificial limbs... In my experience those fortunate enough to only experience minor emotional challenges think that ALL such difficulties can be healed, usually spiritualy. Like someone saying their right hand was premanenty maimed beyond use and is extrememly painful and excuses themselves from shaking hands with it. Is an acceptable response "Oh, I had a paper cut once, they are the worst! It will heal in time. Are you praying? Do you have Faith?"

And sure, Christian counseling is a blessed thing, but it has never been recommended to me by someone personally. The Pastor is very aware of my situation and acknowledges that he doesn't really understand what I term a "seam in my soul." Likewise, a Christian counselor I know well. But they both accept me just as I am, to the best of their abilities and encourage me in the Church Ministry I am invovled in. They see that my situation allows me to help others in a unique way.

OK, it is a subject I don't really want to continue. It tends to make me feel even more alone, but perhaps it will be helpful to someone sometime.

I have thought of a response to use though: "I fellowship with Christians outside of Church."
One way to answer them is, "God is not leading me in that direction." We all should follow God's lead, so if He is not leading you to be social then......

Blessings
 
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One way to answer them is, "God is not leading me in that direction." We all should follow God's lead, so if He is not leading you to be social then......

Blessings
Thanks Largest Cervidae. I have given your suggestion a couple days of consideration and see problems with it. First, can I be sure God IS leading me in that direction? I, myself, am not very sure of his leading until I see where I end up. Second, what if the counter response is: "Oh, you must be mistaken. Away from this congregation, which is THE Body of Christ, is never a place God would lead anyone. Obviously Satan has decieved you. You must ask forgiveness and repent. Let me get the Deacons that are huddled over there in the corner and we will lay hands on you and pray. Hey, Franklin! where's the annointing oil? All used up from Thursday Bible study? Wait, I got some brake fluid out in the truck..." Yeah, humourous exaggeration, but you could see where pulling the G-card might lead.
 
Apr 11, 2014
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Thanks Largest Cervidae. I have given your suggestion a couple days of consideration and see problems with it. First, can I be sure God IS leading me in that direction? I, myself, am not very sure of his leading until I see where I end up. Second, what if the counter response is: "Oh, you must be mistaken. Away from this congregation, which is THE Body of Christ, is never a place God would lead anyone. Obviously Satan has decieved you. You must ask forgiveness and repent. Let me get the Deacons that are huddled over there in the corner and we will lay hands on you and pray. Hey, Franklin! where's the annointing oil? All used up from Thursday Bible study? Wait, I got some brake fluid out in the truck..." Yeah, humourous exaggeration, but you could see where pulling the G-card might lead.
Generally.....I stress GENERALLY.... Christians are an understanding lot. Being truthful with them should be the way to go, don't be flippant with them nor should you say truths that hurt feelings. The old example of telling an over weight lady that she is fat is truthful, yet uneccesarily harmful.
I understand you fear them caring so much about you that they might swarm you with love, but such is the price we pay being a family member.
 
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